In the amazon, the chain sages are screeching: after the right-wing populist president jair bolsonaro took office, the deforestation of the rainforest in brazil continues to increase.
In the brazilian amazon, deforestation in january – the first month of bolsonaro’s term in office – increased by 54 percent to 108 square kilometers compared to the same month last year, according to the imazon research institute.
Although it was mainly on private land wood was smashed. However, as much as seven percent of the deforestation took place on indigenous community lands, and five percent in designated conservation areas. However, even before bolsonaro took office, deforestation had increased sharply.
"The fight against deforestation is the responsibility of brazil and should be a priority of the government," said carolina marcal of the conservation organization greenpeace in the run-up to the international day of the forest on 21. Marz. "The new government is pursuing policies that violate the rights of indigenous and ancestral peoples and lead to more violence on the land and more environmental degradation."
Bolsonaro has repeatedly made it clear that environmental protection and the fight against climate change are not at the top of his list of priorities. It does not want to designate any new protected areas in the amazon region, allow further clearing of the rainforest and align environmental protection with the needs of the economy. "Under the indigenous land lies prosperity," he once said.
Immediately after taking office on new year’s day, he transferred responsibility for the protected areas of indigenous and afro-brazilian communities to the ministry of agriculture. He appointed the influential agricultural lobbyist tereza cristina to head the department. Critics say it is a case of the goat being turned into the gardener.
The change of direction could also put international climate protection in jeopardy, as brazil’s indigenous communities traditionally see themselves as "guardians of the forest" and are resisting gross deforestation. Brazil has an important role to play in the fight against climate change, as the amazon region is of global importance as a CO2 reservoir.
Despite massive deforestation in the amazon, the earth is greener today than it was 20 years ago, according to a study by the u.S. Space agency nasa. Reforestation projects in china and more intensive agriculture in india are mainly responsible for the increase, says the nasa report. However, these new plantings could not compensate for the loss of biodiversity caused by deforestation in brazil and indonesia, for example.
For bolsonaro, the amazon rainforest represents above all a hitherto untapped economic potential. "Brazil is doing a lot for the environment and for nature conservation," he said most recently at the annual meeting of the world economic forum (WEF) in davos. The country has numerous natural resources – he wants to make use of them. "We want to make progress while protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity."